The Adel-DeSoto-Minburn School Board decided Monday to move ahead with district facility improvements at the Adel Elementary, DeSoto Intermediate, decommissioned Middle School, current Middle and High Schools by calling for a special election on Feb. 4.
According to the proposal draft, the project will not exceed $13.5 million to go toward building, constructing, furnishing and equipping additions to the four current schools as well as renovating the former Middle School. The property tax levy rate will also not increase if the bond issue passes.
Under the proposed bond issue, all four attendance centers would have additional classroom space.
At Adel Elementary, six Kindergarten classrooms would be added as well as renovations to the music, preschool and special needs rooms.
Eight general education classrooms as well as an art and special needs room would be added at DeSoto Intermediate.
The Middle School would also see eight classrooms added, and three science labs would be added to the High School. Also at the High School, renovations to the three existing science labs, improvements to the commons area, and upgrades to the fire alarm system would be completed if the bond issue passes.
Improvements to the decommissioned Middle School, including updated flooring, painting, electric and mechanical upgrades would allow the building to serve as the district offices, be used as a technology hug, used for storage, and include meeting rooms.
Main entrance security improvements is also included in the proposed bond issue and is a critical component, according to Superintendent Greg Dufoe.
“Improving student and staff safety by creating more secure main entrances at all of our schools is part of the plan,” he said. “Controlling access to the school buildings is one of the most important security measures, and this plan calls for major improvements in that area. There is much attention on school safety due to events locally and nationally.
“We felt these are critical steps for us to take and improve safety for our students.”
He also added the proposal includes adding safer parent drop-off and bus loading areas at Adel Elementary and DeSoto Intermediate.
The master plan also calls for the Minburn building to be evaluated as use as an extension to the High School, specifically as an agricultural education center.
If the bond issue is successful, work at Adel Elementary and DeSoto Intermediate is scheduled to be completed by the Fall of 2015. Middle and High School additions would be completed by the Fall of 2016.
By the year 2022, approximately 500 additional students will be a part of the A-D-M district, bringing the total number of students to approximately 2,094. The district currently has 1,582 students enrolled.
The Waukee school district’s rapid growth isn’t slowing down any time soon. In fact, the fastest-growing district in the state plans a February bond referendum for Feb. 4, 2014, to fund an eighth elementary school that would be built at the intersection of Dartmoor Drive and Douglas Parkway pending school board approval in Dec. Last month, the school board approved the purchase of the site, an undeveloped field northwest of the new Hy-Vee in Waukee.
Although the new school would require an $18 million bond, district officials say the levy portion of property taxes would remain unchanged from the current $16.57669 if the bond is approved. However, in order to pass, the bond must be approved by 60 percent of voters. If the bond is approved, construction is expected to begin in 2014 so that doors to the new elementary building can open in the fall of 2016.
“Basically the need for the elementary is due to our ever increasing student enrollment numbers,” said Waukee Superintendent Dr. David Wilkerson. Student population has grown by an average of 466 students over the past five years with about 209 of those being at the elementary level each year.
“The addition of Woodland Hills eased crowding in the south half of our district this past year,” said Mary Scheve, Waukee School Board vice president. “Now it is the northern half that needs relief as several of these schools are very close to capacity and need some class size relief.” The board believes building needs to continue as the student population increases. If continued development is delayed, the board expects the costs to increase. The school board encourages district members to spread the word about the upcoming vote and to vote themselves. Any questions can be directed to Dr. Wilkerson at firstname.lastname@example.org.